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Corella, Philippines

Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary

There is a patch of Philippines forest that is devoted to saving the lives of an emotionally sensitive species of google-eyed primates. 

On the Philippine island of Bohol there is a sanctuary populated not just by skinny trees, but by protected tarsiers, an endangered species of strange-looking primates that cling to the thin branches with their long, alien fingers.  

The Tarsier Sanctuary is a large forest dedicated to the protection of tarsiers, small nocturnal primates with big, round eyes that feed primarily on insects. They usually cling to low branches or the trunks of slim trees. They’re an endangered species. Prior to the development of the sanctuaries, many tarsiers were kept as pets by private individuals in environments not conducive to their lifestyle and survival.

Tarsiers are delicate, emotionally-sensitive creatures that get stressed easily (and they have been known to commit suicide via banging their heads against trees trunks), so visitors have to lower their voices and keep the noise level to a minimum. Visitors are allowed to take pictures (without the flash), but touching the tarsiers is an absolute taboo. 

The sanctuary is run officially by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, an organization devoted to making sure that the dwindling and delicate population survives and thrives. The park also has a store where tourists can buy t-shirts, key chains, and hats to promote the protection and preservation of the tarsiers and their habitats.

Know Before You Go

It's easy to find since it's well known. In the town of Corella, travel to Barangay Canapnapan to Tarsier Sanctuary Road, where you will find the sanctuary.